10. Hellbender – a very inventive, effective low budget feature by The Adams Family about witchcraft and isolation. It doesn’t break the mold by any means, but I have to admire the creativity that this family can generate by working together on every aspect of the filmmaking process.
9. Something in the Dirt – a head trip of astronomical proportions. Another effective low budget feature that provides a hundred questions instead of answering a single one. Part film, part faux documentary on the making of the film, it breaks your brain to separate what’s real and what’s not.
8. Nope – the 3rd venture into Jordan Peele territory felt bigger and more expansive than ever. An alien film that refuses to stick to the regular formula, it’s equally exciting, fun, and clever. Plus, that opening scene… shivers.
7. Satan’s Slaves 2: Communion – Indonesian horror doesn’t arrive in the US everyday, so when it does, you can usually expect it hit hard. Out of all the films on this list, this is easily one of the legit scariest of the year. Great set pieces, atmosphere, and visuals are you all need to prepare yourself for a very dark evening of malevolent activity.
6. The Sadness – Taiwan went hard this year as well. This one had a lot of hype and rumors about its Extremity, and thankfully, it lived up to all of that. Brutal and taboo breaking, it doesn’t hold back in the violence department.
5. Terrifier 2 – I wasn’t a huge fan of the first one, but the success story of this crowd funded picture was impossible to ignore. I laughed, I squirmed, I laughed some more, and I had a fantastic Halloween because of it.
4. Resurrection – this one and my next entry are two films I haven’t seen on anyone else’s lists, but it’s so powerful. A psychological disaster where Rebecca Hall’s traumatic past resurfaces when she encounters one of her ex’s while sitting in a lecture hall. It slowly delves into one of the most disturbing stories and endings of the year.
3. Lux Aeterna – Gaspar Noe quickly became one of my favorite directors this year. This one hour long experimental display of controlled chaos shows everything I admire about him in a nutshell. Based almost too strongly on reality, but it has an ending that left me speechless, mind blown, and dizzy. Technically, it came out in 2019, but just got a wide release here in the States over the summer.
2. Barbarian – I just enjoyed this theatrical experience so much. I’ve loved director Zack Cregger since the Whitest Kids U Know, and knowing nothing about this set up paid off big time. It’s been described as “David Fincher in the upstairs, Sam Raimi in the basement” and I feel thats a very appropriate comparison.
1. Men – I said it when this released and I’ll say it again – the mainstream was not ready for this movie, and this movie was not ready for the mainstream audience. An arthouse horror flick with overt symbolism, gorgeous scenery and cinematography, and an explosive ending that transcends description. It’s a movie that’s never left my memory and inspired a long conversation on the car ride home.
Honorable Mentions – Demonic, Fall, X, Don’t Worry Darling, The Black Phone, Crimes of the Future
Dishonorable Mentions – We’re All Going to the World’s Fair, All Jacked Up and Full of Worms, V/H/S/99
Nonhorror Favorites – Jackass Forever, Everything Everywhere All at Once, Del Toro’s Pinocchio, Land, Beavis & Butthead Do the Universe
See y’all next year!